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Oswego 308 Adopts 2012 Tax Levy

Board unanimously adopts tax levy of a 4.98 percent increase.

The Oswego 308 Board of Education voted unanimously to adopt the 2012 tax levy with a 4.98 percent increase, or the amount of $93,275,900 on Monday night.

In coming to this decision, Assistant Superintendent Paul O’Malley reiterated to the public and board that the Oswego school district had started the budget process earlier with a $7.4 million deficit that they were able to over several months cut down to $2.6 million. He also noted that the school district’s General State Aid was reduced by $4.1 million, which had it been available would have resulted in a much different outcome.

That deficit was approved in the 2012-13 school year budget and involved cuts across many areas, but O’Malley picked out the $1.2 million cut made in the common core programs. “[The common core] is a huge part of what we do and why we’re here,” he said. “It was not easy to eliminate that.”

He said approving the budget with a $2.6 million deficit was a difficult decision, and approving the levy tonight would also be a difficult decision.

“We know the levy will ultimately result in an increase in our taxes,” O’Malley said. O’Malley estimated that a homeowner with a home valued at $300,000 would pay around an additional $90 a year under the new levy.

O’Malley said the reason the tax impact is high on the resident is due to two factors outside of the district’s control: the recent enormous enrollment growth necessitating new construction, and low commercial/industrial development relative to residential growth.

By adopting this tax levy, said O’Malley, “you will offset that deficit; that deficit will be eliminated.” Any additional revenue from the levy would be applied to assisting teachers in the common core.

O’Malley, as said at a previous board meeting, said the school would not likely get 4.98 percent, but closer to 3.1 percent after it has been approved by the county clerk.

Board secretary Laurie Pasteris asked for clarification on the amount aggregated in the levy for Special Education. In the 2011 levy it had been just over $2.6 million and for the 2012 levy it was at $12,575,900.

O’Malley said the reason for the higher amount was that the district spends about $25 million on special education services, be they transportation or social services. He said the programs are required as a state mandate and that the levy is more of a reflection of what the district spends.

The 2011 total amount aggregated was $88,853,655, compared to the proposed 2012 levy amount of  $93,275,900.

The board voted 6-0 to adopt the tax levy, which will be filed by Dec. 21 with the county clerk.

The levy will generate property tax revenues for the district to operate in calendar year 2013.

Louie December 18, 2012 at 02:07 PM
If you want to know why they stopped at 4.98% it's because under 35 ILCS 200/18-185 anything over 5% has to be approved by the voters unless CPI was over 5%. http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=003502000K18-185
cindy December 18, 2012 at 03:38 PM
It has not been explained why the special education budget increased approximately 500% ???? We were told in the meeting that there were 860 more students designated special education this year. Can someone please explain why? Is there a history of special education services going up by $10 million every year? I was not satisfied with the board's lack of explanation on this. I'd also like to say that in no way am I saying that special education should not be funded. I have worked many years with kids with special needs. My question is this, why this dramatic increase of $10 million in one year? This needs attention.
Plainfield December 18, 2012 at 07:25 PM
Cindy, not sure what your point is - the article says the district spends $25M per year - so they are just aligning the Special Ed request to be closer to what they spend. So if they get $12M as requested this year they still will need to 'take' $13 from the general fund to cover Special Ed. As I understand it.
Logansdad December 18, 2012 at 08:52 PM
So much for the school district listening to what the voters wanted - a 20% decrease in the tax levy.
Sally Jamieson December 19, 2012 at 04:27 AM
Logansdad, it's kind of like they just thumbed their noses at us tax payers. It's obvious that they don't get it. We do not have any more to give. The well is dry.
Class of "92" December 19, 2012 at 06:15 AM
Out with the old, in with the blind. Change and progress have drawbacks, get use to it. I wonder if this board and other elected officials in Oswego run their homes and finances like they run Oswego? Pathetic.
ayar December 19, 2012 at 03:42 PM
The one thing to learn about upper management public or private is that they will *always* vote themselves a raise if they are given the power to do so. There's still one more step - it has to get past the county clerk's office [NOT a rubber stamp] - gripe to the county clerk to "just say no". And remember *that* name on the ballot of the next voting election.

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